Soviet Secrets that Supercharge Your Health

Since the early 1950’s, the USSR Academy of Science and Ministry of Health studied several herbs for their ability to improve health, mental and physical performance, and fight certain diseases.  Why all this interest in these adaptogens?  The Russians wanted to excel in the Olympics and in the space race.  These herbs helped them to do just that!  Certain extracts of Rhodiola rosea and Rhododendron caucasicum were so successful in keeping the Russian athletes and cosmonauts dominant that the Soviet government considered information about these herbs a guarded secret.  That’s why little has been known about them until recently.

The Russian province of Georgia has long been known for human longevity.  Many Georgian residents live active and healthy lives well past 100 years of age.  Their good health and long life has been attributed to a number of factors: certain qualities in their drinking water, consumption of traditional yogurt and red wine, and teas made of Rhodiola rosea, also known as “Artic Root” or “Golden Root”, and Rhododendron caucasicum, also called Rhododendron Alpine tea.  Extracts of these two herbs, known as Rosavin and Rhodenol, are the most popular adaptogens and longevity enhancers in Georgia and in Russia. These high-altitude herbs are among the most fascinating plant species in the world.

Summary of Benefits of Rhodiola rosea and Rhododendron caucasicum

Russian Scientific Studies have clearly demonstrated these benefits:

The Scourge of Our Times:

Stress, depression, low energy, chronic weight gain, and obesity

Modern lifestyle has created a number of health hazards that are often closely interrelated. The more stressed we feel by the demands on our time and energy, the more depressed and anxious we feel.  Most people turn to food as a comfort and overeat, especially on high-calorie, over-processed, “comfort” foods, resulting in weight gain.  Unhappiness about being overweight leads to fad dieting that often puts the body into starvation mode. This leads to a lower metabolic rate and further weight gain, chronic fatigue, depression, and lethargy. Physical inactivity due our modern conveniences as well as fatigue and depression worsens the problem.  This vicious cycle leads to obesity, a problem of epidemic proportions in our society.  Obesity is a significant risk factor for most chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, and arthritis.

Synergistic Effect on Weight Control with Rhododendron and Rhodiola:

Stress, Depression, and Mental Function

Immune Support:

Stress, by depleting neurotransmitters, has been shown to diminish immune function.  Rhodiola blocks this effect by balancing neurotransmitter function. Rhododendron has demonstrated anti-viral properties.  Synergistically, these two herbs can prevent those under stress from succumbing to infections.


List of other conditions where there is clinical evidence of benefit from these herbal extracts:



The Power of the Adaptogens:

Soviet scientist, I.I. Brekhman, PhD, coined the use of the term “adaptogen” to refer to a substance that enables the body to better cope with stress.  Adaptogens have the unique ability to normalize body functions.  These substances can raise or lower function in order to return the body to normal function, called homeostasis.  If blood sugar, blood pressure, or cortisol levels are too low or too high, adaptogens aid in return to optimal levels.  Therefore, the health benefits of adaptogens is broad, including improving stress tolerance, recovery, immune function, brain power, physical capacity, antioxidant status, oxygenation of tissues, liver detoxification, endocrine function, and sexual prowess.

Seventeen Powerful Adaptogens: While we recommend many of these substances listed below for specific conditions at our office, they should be taken under the care of a knowledgeable physician as some have certain side effects, such as increasing blood pressure or estrogen levels, and are contraindicated for certain individuals.

Rhodiola: The Best of the Adaptogens

The Russians studied ginseng, the best known of the adaptogens, extensively before turning their attention in the early 1960’s to Rhodiola.  They quickly found that the health benefits of this plant were much broader and it possesses stronger adaptogenic effects.

 Quality Control Issues: 

As always, we carefully research the forms on herbal and nutritional supplements we recommend.  Caution when purchasing supplements is warranted because not all supplements contain the active ingredients necessary for the desired benefits.  In fact, most of the supplements sold in the United States that supposedly containing Rhodiola rosea contain no rosavin when actually assayed for chemical composition! We know of only one company that is supplying the proven extracts of these herbs.

Recommended Source of Rhodiola rosea:

Recommended Source of Rhododendron caucasicum:


Effective Natural Stress and Weight Management Using Rhodiola rosea andRhododendron caucasicum.  By Dr. Zakir Ramazanov and Dr. Maria del Mar Bernal Suarez. 1999.

Russian Energy Secrets.  Dr. Earl Mindell, RPh, PhD, and Donald Yance, Jr. 2001.